Posts Tagged ‘laws’

Taco Bell is the first ever to use a promoted tweet to make an official statement about their lawsuit.

Taco Bell promoted tweet about lawsuit

Taco Bell promoted tweet about lawsuit

I arrived to work exceptionally early today.  I got my tabs and windows up and running and noticed something that looked completely normal.  Taco Bell was promoting a tweet.  Sweet!  I was hoping for a free taco.  Or, better yet, a free Nachos Bell Grande!

Turned out that this promoted tweet was much different than any other I had ever seen.  Taco Bell was using their promoted tweet to release an official company legal statement regarding a class action lawsuit from a California woman regarding the quality of their beef.  No free tacos.  No half off discounts.  Rather, a one page statement of legal jargon and adamant statements by Taco Bell’s President and Chief Concept Officer.

Should Taco Bell Promote a Tweet about their Lawsuit?

I’m not here to argue the validity or falsehoods of this lawsuit.  In all honestly, its not even going to detour me from eating there.  I love their food.  In fact, this has prompted my co-workers and I to go there later today for lunch.  And we’ll all probably check in on Foursquare from there.

To me, the debate at hand, from a marketing and public relations standpoint, is whether or not using a tool like a promoted tweet is the appropriate or effective way to issue such a statement.  This was the first I had even heard that Taco Bell was being sued over such a claim.  Would I have even found out about it had they, themselves, not pushed the issue in front of me?  When I notified my boss of the tweet and apparent lawsuit, he knew nothing either.  However, my other two co-workers did have knowledge of the lawsuit.  They had heard about it on the radio before today.

At first I thought it was an ill-advised move.  Why go around broadcasting your controversies?  And why would you pay a platform like Twitter to do so?

Then my public relations degree kicked in (Yeah! BYU, class of ’06).  The more I thought about it I have only one word:  Brilliant!  Yeah, Taco Bell is going to inform more people about the lawsuit than probably would’ve found out about it in the end, but it’s better that you be the one informing them than a bunch of angry customers, and bloggers, and Twitter users, and news achors, and Facebook updates and aspiring writers.

Just consider the speed at which Twitter and Facebook function?  It takes literally minutes for someone or something to be a national trend for all the wrong reasons.  With today’s social media boom, wrong reports and ill-speaking travels like wildfire in windy conditions.  If the history of public relations and publicity has taught us anything, it’s better to get out in front of an issue before you have to chase it down.

Still a bold move? Yes.  I had never seen anything like it.  Was it a wise, bold move?  Only time will really tell.  But for now, I say definitely.

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Interesting read today from Fox news on the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).  This is something that would effect SEO companies as they are prone to adding links and building blogs to get more traffic.  The FTC has voted to regulate blogging and fine those that are posting product reviews for money.  They believe that these reviews are misleading in that the consumer is unaware if the review is a organic unsolicited review or if the review is paid for by the product company.  Further, many of these sites and reviews sign on as affiliates and receive a commission if the product is bought through their site.

The law will require that bloggers must make it known that they are being paid in a “clear and conspicuous” manner and the law goes into force December 1st, 2009. The law does not require notification for “free” products, meaning if I were to offer you free pest control service in exchange for a review then you are not required to disclose that you are receiving free service. While these regulations may make many bloggers nervous, the FTC says that they intend to target the companies and advertisers.  This actually makes me more nervous as a pest control company.

Let’s say that I am paying an SEO company to build my site and back links.  How can I be sure that the SEO company I hire is adhering to this law?  Who then is responsible, the SEO company or the pest control company?  Further, this law seems very inadequate.  How do you define a “review” of a company or a review of a product?  How will the FTC distinguish between legitimate customers reviewing a product or service versus the paid reviews? And what about blogs that benefit indirectly from their reviews (i.e. Google adsense)?

Or better yet define “clear and conspicuous”. How do I know if this site “clearly and conspicuously” show that I am a Bulwark employee.  Is the facebook profile on the left sufficient or do I need to disclose this in every post?  Beyond that this blog isn’t purely a Bulwark blog, its my own blog and thoughts as well.  Bulwark does not sanction everything written on this blog and I am not really getting paid directly for my content.

Overall, however, I applaud the FTC’s attempt to regulate this gross flood of solicited reviews. It is unfortunate that so many companies and individuals are cashing in on the naive public.  Having worked on the internet for sometime I  spot the propaganda reviews and comments regularly. In fact, there are entire blogs that look like just a single user reviewing everyday products, but in fact are a paid blogger.

As far as I am aware Bulwark has not overstepped these requirements.  But, again, I am unaware of every attempt hired SEO firms have undergone to boost my web presence. Further, I don’t know how they define “clear and conspicuous”.  Hopefully a site that is owned by Bulwark is clear. But, it does sound  like I will need to check in on my SEO team, and I would advise all internet advertisers and business owners to do the same. Don’t get caught with your pants down.

From your Pest Control SEO guy.

This post was not directly paid for by Bulwark Exterminating, however the writter is biased as to which pest control service is the best.